The life of the creative is an uncertain one. It’s fraught with peril – emotional, physical, financial. Being a creative in the entertainment industry is the ultimate risk. Corporations stand to make – or lose – hundreds of millions of dollars on your project alone. Trust becomes a quaint notion, for you may discover that the guy or gal sitting across from you is the next Gordon Gekko, patiently waiting to swoop in and offer you bottom dollar once s/he has worn you down.
Filmmaking has been, from its inception, a commerce driven enterprise. It was not initially the high art that it (occasionally) morphs into. Mack Sennett would churn out 30 – 40 projects a year. These were fast-food movies, intended for mass consumption. Eventually, the screenwriter was born, and the notion that a compelling story could drive a moving picture took hold.
With story, there comes the storyteller, and with the storyteller there comes Art (sometimes) and therein lies the rub. There is a symbiotic relationship between screenwriter and studio; we need one another in order for us to survive – and hopefully, thrive.
That being said, we need the studio more than the studio needs us, because, as you’ve noticed at every Starbucks in L.A., screenwriters are everywhere. We’re fungible. We can be swapped out like backgammon pieces. Studios replace us without batting an eye.
Which leads me back to my point: writers are perhaps the most dis-empowered people in Hollywood.
Solution? I don’t know. Well, yes I do. Keep at it. Don’t quit. Never give up. Failure is not an option. Will you make that seven-figure sale? I don’t know… but I do know this – if you quit, you won’t. Ever.
With crowd-funding becoming a more accepted practice, and with the dawn of the hyphenate/auteur once again breaking, there is hope. Tired of the grind? Do what I did. Make your own damn movie. Or series, or adventure show… just go Nike on it. Flash back to the 90s – Just do it.
For at the end of the day, your life is a story. Who do you wish to write it?
Now, go write.
HRH, Princess Scribe